By Angie Wagner
The first time I ever looked at porn, I was 11 years old. I didn’t really know what sex was and one internet search resulted in a habit I couldn’t (and didn’t know I needed to) break. My parents found out several months later and quickly put parental controls on our internet to prevent me from visiting those sites again, but the damage had already been done. At 11 years old I had allowed pornography to tell me how to view my body, my relationships, my power over men, and my worth.
When I was 15, I prayed to accept Christ out of desperation that there had to be more to life than what I was currently experiencing. Romans 10:9-10 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” I believed that He died for my sins and that He rose again, but I was not yet ready to let Him be my Savior and Lord over every area of my life.
A Search Ensues
I started dating when I was 16 and didn’t have more than three months of singleness between relationships until I was 22. I consistently sought out men to validate and affirm me. I used my body to attract men and pushed each one towards marriage in the hope of finding security in the permanency of marriage. Physical intimacy kept me in abusive relationships and convinced my heart that “if I just marry this one” then my past choices would be justified. Scripture tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure…” but I still trusted my heart and not Christ.
I started attending Watermark in the spring of 2011, but it wasn’t until the end of yet another relationship in 2012 that I finally came to the end of myself. I started attending re:generation (Watermark’s recovery ministry) because of the pattern of codependency in my life. Through the love and support of other broken women around me, God revealed that my codependency was a result of the lies that I had believed since I was that 11 year old girl – the lies that I wasn’t pretty enough, that I wasn’t smart enough, that if I did not use my body to manipulate men then I would not be wanted.
As I recognized my struggle to believe that I had value and worth, God was faithful to use the incredible women in my life to consistently pray for me and breathe truth into my life. They modeled the unfading beauty of 1 Peter 3:3-4. And they reminded me that I am a precious daughter of the King, co-heir to the throne. It didn’t matter if I wasn’t pretty enough or smart enough or pure enough; Jesus is enough.
When I finally surrendered all of my life to Christ, I found healing. He gave me joy and peace that I can’t even describe in words.
Today, I am surrendering my struggle to find my worth in anything but Christ. Today, I am choosing to believe the promises of Romans 8:38-39 that nothing can separate me from the love of Christ and that in him I am free from my past sins and destructive habits. Today, I am standing firm in Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Today, I am redeemed, I am loved, and I am FREE!